Monday, August 16, 2010

Marriage is so much more than a forgotten pair of pants.

This weekend, we traveled three hours north to our hometown for a family wedding. My beautiful cousin married her handsome college sweetheart, and of course, family weddings never disappoint in the fun department.

This wedding did not disappoint in the Department o' Fun. It was a great time.

Last Thursday, as we were making the trek north for the wedding weekend, out of the blue, I looked at my husband and said, "You forgot your black dress shoes, didn't you?"

Somehow I just knew it.

I have no idea what prompted me to think of the shoes. I just had a sinking feeling that the shoes were forgotten. We panicked for about 10.5 seconds until we realized that my sister, who lives near us, hadn't left yet. Thankfully, she agreed to pick up the shoes for us and bring them with her, saving us a trip to the shoe store for a new pair.

We had a small chuckle about my husband's forgetfulness when it comes to packing for casual trips. After all, he is notorious for forgetting to pack something important, like a bathing suit. Or underwear. Or a belt. Or a tie. This time it was his shoes.

Problem solved.

Saturday, the day of the wedding, was spent relaxing and then getting ready for the mass at 1:30. We had to leave my mother-in-law's home by 12:30, and we decided to bring the kids with us to the mass only, and not the reception.

Moms and Pops wanted to party and get our dance on, sans children.

While my husband showered, I ironed the dress clothes for all four of my children and helped them get dressed, making sure their shirts were buttoned properly and tucked in, their hair was in place, and shoes were shined. My daughter's dress required extra ironing, and of course, she needed a pretty bow on top of her head.

The last thing I had to do before we walked out the door was get myself dressed.

At 12:20 p.m., a mere ten minutes before we had to walk out the door for the church, Bill called to me from the bedroom with a nervous shout of, "Um....Clare?!?"

It didn't sound good.

I walked in the room, and he sheepishly and frantically admitted to me, "I forgot my black suit pants."

He forgot his black suit pants.

Of course.

"YOU ARE KIDDING ME," was all I could manage to yell say.

He knows better than to joke when we're scrambling to get out the door. Of course he wasn't kidding.

I will spare you the rest of the "conversation", because I don't remember every last word, but basically, I did most of the yelling talking, with Bill peppering the "conversation" with frequent, "I'm sorry"s.


Really. Put yourself in my shoes. You managed to pack YOURSELF AND YOUR FOUR CHILDREN for the weekend, and you didn't forget to pack so much as a single sock or pair of underwear. Your husband had ONE job the day of packing, and that job was to pack HIMSELF. One would think that he would at least DOUBLE-CHECK that the pants were on the hanger with the suit. He managed to NOT forget to pack his flip-flops, or that ratty old t-shirt, but NO. The suit, the ONE outfit that he HAD to wear on Saturday, was missing the pants. One would think he would check that all parts of said suit were present and accounted for.



Now that you have yourself in my frame of mind, just imagine the conversation.

I know. Annoyed, huh?

Bill declared, "I'm going to fix this. I'll run to the store and then meet you at the church. I'm so sorry! I'm going to fix this."

Whatever. Talk to the hand, buddy.

I left for church with all four kids in tow and cartoon steam shooting out of my ears. As we drove off in the minivan, my oldest son looked at his brother and simply said, "Whoa. Daddy is in trou-ble. Trou-ble. Better make it double."

Understatement of the day, dude.

Then it hit me. I was driving to a wedding with my four beautiful children, who just so happen to be four perfect offshoots of my love for this man that I adore, but who was in oh-so-much-trouble-at-the-moment, to witness a young couple, madly in love, about to take the biggest leap of faith that a couple can take together.

If it were any more ironic, it would have been an Alanis Morrissette song.

I gathered up all the perspective I could muster in my still-steaming brain and simply said to my son, "No, Dad's not in trouble. He just made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. Mom is not mad at him anymore."

At first, I realized that I forced myself to say it more for the benefit of my children, but the moment that the words left my lips, I realized that no, I wasn't mad at him anymore. In fact, I couldn't have cared less if he showed up at the mass wearing his khaki pants with a black suit coat.

After all, it was kind of funny. Of course he forgot his suit pants.

Of course.

It wasn't cancer. It wasn't a horrible accident. It was just a pair of forgotten pants.

In the grand scheme of my marriage, this was a pimple. A tiny little pimple. And I have a newsflash for you all that goes something like, "Hey! Guess what! Clare isn't always a peach to live with either! She's not perfect!"

Bill came bounding into the church, smiling, wearing a new pair of black pants (that the store tailored for him right on the spot, no less!) and found our family in the pew with ten minutes to spare. He smiled, reached over our children for my hand, squeezed it, and mouthed the words, "I'm sorry." I smiled back at him.

All was forgiven.

I watched my cousin walk down the aisle with her proud father, and she looked radiant as she saw her groom waiting for her. My throat tightened as I witnessed pure joy.

As I often do at weddings, I think of my own wedding day almost 12 years ago, and I remember that I married this man because he is, quite simply, the best person that I have ever known.

He may have forgotten his suit pants, but he has never, not even one time, let me down in any way that really matters.

And that is all that really matters.

In a marriage, things happen. People get cranky. Garbage doesn't get taken out. Children need disciplining. Alone time is scarce. Laundry piles up. Schedules aren't always in sync. But I have learned that if you go into marriage without a sense of perspective, you will fail.

Bill and I have no plans to fail. We're in it to win it.

Later that evening at the reception, each table had a few sheets of paper, pens, and a note that asked for your best marital advice for the bride and groom. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something like, "Never forget that you married your best friend. And how can life be boring if this is true? The best stuff is the small stuff. The trips to the grocery store. Working on the house together. The little moments. The best is yet to come!"

Cheesy, yes, but oh-so true.

So very true.

I also wanted to add, "By the way, always double-check your husband's packing for a trip."

But I kept that little nugget of advice to myself.

Best of luck to my cousin and her husband for many years of happiness! Marriage is what you make of it, and here's to making it good.

This is how much we cared about silly little things like missing suit pants later in the evening.

In other words, not at all.


  1. Wow...this is a wonderful story and so beautifully written. It will touch the lives of others as it has touched mine. Thank you for sharing this moment in your marriage.

  2. I absolutely love that you realized what was most important.
    Such a great story to have in your arsenal too! ;)


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